In this podcast episode, host Roger Dooley interviews Melina Palmer, author of What Your Employees Need and Can’t Tell You, about change initiatives in companies. They discuss the misconception that 70% of change initiatives fail and the importance of approaching change thoughtfully. Melina emphasizes the significance of small, everyday changes and micro-decisions that influence employees’ reactions to change. They also explore the impact of employee engagement on successful change, the importance of creating the right environment for change, and the barriers to employee engagement. They touch on Elon Musk’s approach to change at Twitter and the power of small steps in achieving change. The conversation also delves into cognitive biases and their impact on the change process, as well as conflicts and stereotypes between different departments within organizations. Melina suggests building connections across departments and fostering a sense of unity to overcome these challenges.Want to read your employee's minds? Not possible... but @TheBrainyBiz, a.k.a. Melina Palmer, explains what your employees need and can't tell you! Click To Tweet
Melina Palmer – Key Moments
00:00:37 Melina Palmer, a behavioral economist, discusses her new book about understanding employee needs.
00:04:58 The brain’s subconscious processing influences decision-making; small details have a significant impact. An example of an email subject line affecting productivity is given. Word choice in communication can have lasting effects on outcomes.
00:08:36 The subconscious mind acts like a receptionist, filtering information for the conscious mind.
00:13:21 Focus on important tasks, reduce unnecessary communication, prioritize one task at a time for increased productivity.
00:15:50 Unnecessary effort and wasted time demotivate employees.
00:19:02 The text discusses the importance of communication, employee engagement, and making small changes to achieve big results, using the example of “The Forest Man of India.”
00:24:49 The text discusses the fundamental attribution error and the tendency to judge others more harshly than ourselves in certain situations. It suggests expanding empathy and considering how we would react if the roles were reversed. It also highlights the importance of shifting behaviors to avoid being judged negatively by others.
00:28:18 Many companies are siloed and hold competitions that deepen divides between departments, hindering unity. To bridge silos, focus on connecting people across organizations and departments, fostering trust and a team mindset.
00:30:20 Forced fun without objective, virtual activities, trust falls for team bonding, getting out of the norm, intentional projects and interactions.
Melina Palmer Quotes
The Importance of Embracing Change in the Workplace: “We all make 35,000 decisions every day on average. And so to instead look at change in those little tiny moments is what’s really important if you want to be better about change.”
— Melina Palmer [00:03:57 → 00:04:11]
The Impact of Word Choice on Productivity: “And so who knows what else we talked about in that meeting, but everything was really impacted by the word choice in that email. And maybe she saved two minutes of time by not writing a more thoughtful email, but it cost me hours of productive time because of the ripples that happened after the fact.”
— Melina Palmer [00:06:32 → 00:06:53]
Receptionist and Executive: “The receptionist is filtering through anything they can do themselves because it’s probably a pain. They don’t want to have to bug their boss in this case of getting stuff done.”
— Melina Palmer [00:09:15 → 00:09:24]
The Importance of Reducing Deadlines and Unnecessary Work: “Anything that you can be doing to reduce deadlines and unnecessary unimportant work is going to be the biggest thing you can be doing to help your teams be more open to and receptive, to change and feel more engaged at work and be more creative.”
— Melina Palmer [00:12:09 → 00:12:26]
Email Efficiency: “So if you were to be a little bit more thoughtful and send an email that people just get and then can move on, then you could conservatively reduce 25% of what you and everyone on your team is working on and then it can free up a lot of space for more important things to be done.”
— Melina Palmer [00:14:22 → 00:14:43]
The Power of Small Actions: “Well, from what I’ve seen, it’s not really in alignment with any of the recommendations that I’m making in the book as you have a lot of surprise happening. A lot of big sweeping changes that don’t have a lot of maybe input from the team or communication as to why they’re happening, why they’re important, and helping to rally the troops behind you with engaged employees.”
— Melina Palmer [00:19:02 → 00:19:33]
Biases in the Workplace: “We run on bias. And so knowing that you’re not going to eliminate it and you’re not necessarily going to change these rules that have been written for generations in the way that we behave as a species, but to understand that they exist.”
— Melina Palmer [00:24:03 → 00:24:17]
The Impact of Fundamental Attribution Error: “If someone cuts you off on the freeway, they are a jerk… if you cut someone off, are you a jerk? No. We do this at work for showing up late for meetings… when someone who isn’t on your team is late, we assume they’re terrible. But if we’re late, we assume people know we’re busy. These are some of those micro decisions, micro moments all the time. And to say, ‘people should just know’ obviously doesn’t work.”
— Melina Palmer [00:26:14 → 00:26:19]
Combating Silos in Organizations: “And so if you know that you have that and you’re wanting to work on silos, how can you be helping people to be connected across organizations across departments? Again, talking about how we’re all team company and really helping to unite and see those other people as people that you can be connected to working on a talk about vulnerability loops in the book and ways that you can help to build trust. And doing that across departments is really important for most every organization.”
— Melina Palmer [00:29:14 → 00:29:45]
Building Bonds through Uncertainty: “It can be a really quick and easy way to build some of those bonds.”
— Melina Palmer [00:31:36 → 00:31:40]
About Melina Palmer
Melina Palmer is the founder and CEO of The Brainy Business, which provides behavioral economics consulting to businesses of all sizes from around the world. She has contributed research to the Association for Consumer Research, Filene Research Institute, and runs the Behavioral Economics & Business column for Inc Magazine. Her podcast, The Brainy Business: Understanding the Psychology of Why People Buy, has downloads in over 170 countries and was named the #1 psychology podcast people in business should listen to by Psychology. Melina’s first book is What Your Customer Wants (And Can’t Tell You).
Melina Palmer Resources
LinkedIn: Melina Palmer
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